I went out of town Thanksgiving week to visit relatives. Late on Saturday night, December 1st I received a text from Susan Blair, President of Pike Township Residents Association, saying she had passed by my office building last night and it was on fire. I texted the owner of the building, Dan Baldini, to confirm. He responded that it was true and see the email that he sent out. I had not gotten to my emails yet but when I did this is what I saw;
Around 10:00 PM EST, a significant fire was reported to 911 emergency services by vehicles passing by the property.
Pike Township Fire Department as well as crews from Zionsville Fire Department responded and were successful in getting the fire under control and eventually extinguished. Unfortunately, there is extensive damage to some of the 2nd floor suites on the North side of the building, as well as water and smoke damage to all the spaces in the building from the efforts of the fire department to extinguish the fire. There is also structural damage to the roof and top perimeter above where the fire occurred.
Fortunately, nobody was in the building at the time the fire occurred, so no personal injuries were sustained.
I asked one of my agents to take a picture of the front of the building and send to mee. This is what he sent;
My first thought was “OK, I am good. My office is on the first floor in the rear west side of the building.”
I returned home that evening to a postcard that said I had jury duty. Wonderful! I also had a new email from Dan;
The Fire Marshall has cleared the 1st floor for both access to your spaces as well as removal of ALL furniture, business and personal property from each suite. Each suite must be cleared out of all items and emptied as soon as possible in order for remediation efforts to proceed. Please coordinate with your individual insurance carrier/adjuster to make arrangements for labor (if necessary), moving trucks, and storage at your site of choice.
Tuesday morning December 2nd, I decided to go see what my office space looked like. When I parked my car in the parking lot, I was approached by a man from the rehab company. He explained to me that I had to be out of the building by Friday. That meant moving everything that could be salvaged into a rented storage locker down the street.
When I entered the building there was no electricity. It was dark and the smell of smoke was almost unbearable. All the tenant’s office suite front door had been pried open by the fire department. The second floor, where the fire started, was blocked off for investigation reasons. As I walked down the long hallway past the lobby area, the floor was covered with water.
I walked into my office suite. The only damage I found was smoke damage and it was intense.
Where I used my Eastbrook brick as a paperweight
Light spot is where my wastebasket was
I spent three days packing what could be salvageable and left the rest for the rehab company to decide it’s future. Seventeen fabric chairs most likely will be tossed. You can’t get the smoke smell out of them. The desks will be assessed for smoke smell along with the computers and printers.
All twenty-two tenants have to vacate the building from anywhere from 6 to 12 months while the building will be gutted and rehabbed.
You really don’t realize the damage smoke can cause until you experience it. I took 6 boxes of personal belongings back to my house and now my house smells of smoke.
I decided to work out of my house for the next 6 to 12 months. My business has to continue. I will survive.